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  1. #1
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    Any off-road multisport racers here?

    I did see a few posts in the swimming thread about it preparing you for your first XTERRA. I've only been posting/logging workouts on a tri website, but nobody there really does fat tire tris. I'm just trying to see if any of you stronger riders are able to get run splits close to your open run times, as the roadies make it seem like you should be able to, but they are mostly racing on flat terrain. Usually they say you can do it when you have good enough bike fitness and pace yourself correctly, but I was wondering if anyone here can actually pull it off, and tips if they do.

  2. #2
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    No way can you get even close to your open run times, unless you completely soft-pedaled the bike leg, which would have you crawling along at snail's pace. In the Caveman's own words:

    Off road triathlons are longer. Don’t be fooled by the seemingly short bike leg. If the course designer has a sick mind*, the bike and run courses will be more than just challenging. Thus finish times will be slower. The pro men normally take about 30 minutes longer than on the road- about 2h20 for a standard XTERRA race. 1.5k swim, 30k MTB and 10k run. “Participating for fun” athletes could be out there for 4 hrs or more, depending on how much “fun” you want.

    Because XTERRAs are longer, you would need more endurance. XTERRAs also require a lot of power; it involves lots of climbing on the mountain bike, negotiating obstacles, and pedaling a heavier bike through rough terrain. On the run you always encounter slow surfaces like sand and grass, hills, but more importantly, because the bike is so hard, you would start the run with a very 2nd hand pair of legs. Speed is hardly a factor in XTERRA training.

    I have found Xterra's to be really course-dependent, that is, some favor mountain bikers, others favor runners, some favor skinny climber types, others favor more power-oriented mtbers, etc etc. It really really helps to have mountain bike and trail running skills, you can't just think that your road fitness will cross over and you can fake it on the trail. OK, maybe there are some lame Xterra courses out there where you could do that. As I said, course-dependent.

    As far as tips, GET FIT. I think it helps to have the mindset of training for a half-Iron rather than Olympic-distance. Get your mtb skills and fitness going, regularly race mtb, some marathon racing (i.e. 50mi, 6-hour, etc) would be great prep, also some longer trail footraces (i.e. 10-15 mile, etc). I think the swim is relatively less important than a road Olympic tri.

  3. #3
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    running on dirt is 20% harder. Swim is less important cycling and the run is where you will win the race. Xterra is awesome I have been racing for a while next year will be my fifth year. I raced in Maui this year and as "flargle" posted its a variance from course to course. Maui is all about the climb. Which means skinny bodies make it happen. In the South where I race its fast XC racing. More about power than anything else.
    The greatest thing about Xterra is that its more of a skillset than power. You may be able to do an Olympic distance road tri in two hours, but unless you know how to ride and ride fast you will not be making the podium.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by pernfilman
    running on dirt is 20% harder.
    And 120% more fun!

    The swim portion might not be as important, but you'd still better be fit. On my first Xterra, my arms were noodles after the swim, and as a result I felt like I couldn't be as aggresive on the downhill portions of the bike.
    Tire Design & Development Engineer. The opinions expressed in this forum are solely my own.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by flargle
    No way can you get even close to your open run times, unless you completely soft-pedaled the bike leg, which would have you crawling along at snail's pace. In the Caveman's own words:

    Off road triathlons are longer. Don’t be fooled by the seemingly short bike leg. If the course designer has a sick mind*, the bike and run courses will be more than just challenging. Thus finish times will be slower. The pro men normally take about 30 minutes longer than on the road- about 2h20 for a standard XTERRA race. 1.5k swim, 30k MTB and 10k run. “Participating for fun” athletes could be out there for 4 hrs or more, depending on how much “fun” you want.

    Because XTERRAs are longer, you would need more endurance. XTERRAs also require a lot of power; it involves lots of climbing on the mountain bike, negotiating obstacles, and pedaling a heavier bike through rough terrain. On the run you always encounter slow surfaces like sand and grass, hills, but more importantly, because the bike is so hard, you would start the run with a very 2nd hand pair of legs. Speed is hardly a factor in XTERRA training.

    I have found Xterra's to be really course-dependent, that is, some favor mountain bikers, others favor runners, some favor skinny climber types, others favor more power-oriented mtbers, etc etc. It really really helps to have mountain bike and trail running skills, you can't just think that your road fitness will cross over and you can fake it on the trail. OK, maybe there are some lame Xterra courses out there where you could do that. As I said, course-dependent.

    As far as tips, GET FIT. I think it helps to have the mindset of training for a half-Iron rather than Olympic-distance. Get your mtb skills and fitness going, regularly race mtb, some marathon racing (i.e. 50mi, 6-hour, etc) would be great prep, also some longer trail footraces (i.e. 10-15 mile, etc). I think the swim is relatively less important than a road Olympic tri.

    hehe.. caveman is pretty awesome, I was right there when he cut his foot open just before the Richmond race, lots of people were lucky they didn't get cut as well in that murky brown funk.

    Good tips all around, and as I suspected, it'll take me quite some time to build up to where I really want to be so I can try and earn a spot to maui. I'm already there on trying to work up to half-iron training loads, and I only ride my MTB, and do plenty of trail running, and regular trail races. Wish those other MTB events weren't right in the middle of the xterra season though, but I do want to get ready for the shenandoah mountain 100 miler so it sounds like slowly building for that will help me out in the long run.


    BTW, don't fake on the swim portion, sure plenty of xterra racers don't swim that fast, but getting in the singletrack before the pack will not hurt your bike times.

  6. #6
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    My local Xterra race's (Southeastern Champ - B'ham, AL) run portion is brutal. A 10k route that starts with rolling hills, but the last 5k crosses hills/valleys with many parts that are too steep to run up (I'm talking clawing up with both hands) and too steep to run down. After giving strong effort on the bike it would be super tough to match an open split. Even the Caveman (who won last year) said he walked the hills at the end.

    IMO Xterra's really favor MTB racers. The bike is the longest leg and, while not crazy technical, seem to eat up those w less bike skills (tri

  7. #7
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    The Arkansas Cup race had a hill like that as well, it was humbling to say the least. Courses in Oklahoma and Louisiana are fast xc courses. The courses in mid Texas are a lot more rocks and a bit more technical. The toughest course so far is Xterra Austin, very technical and down right scary.

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    The Oak Mtn race was my first Xterra (2008) and that run course is brutal, but especially with heat. I actually did a brick of the entire bike/run legs two weeks prior, and I thought I had worked out my pacing, but the heat really came on in the intervening time and I hit the wall something fierce the second I got into the woods on the run. Humbling.

    Arkansas Cup (Little Rock) was stupidly hot this year. But based on my experiences, I really reined it in during the swim and bike legs, and managed to survive the run OK. The last mile was still far from pleasant, however.

    Transitioning between walking and running is an important skill in trailrunning IMO. Walking feels like such a defeat if you are only used to road racing.

  9. #9
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    P.S. A little trick I got from Danny Dreyer's book is the sideways cross-step when it gets steep. It helps save the calves and also gives you good traction.

  10. #10
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    This is an uphill climb at Xterra Camp Eagle in South Texas on the bike section

  11. #11
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    First off to everyone responding so far, I envy your access to Xterra and other Off Road Tris. The closest we have around here are Adventure Races. While some of the AR's 'occasionally' feature some single track, most make do with unopened road allowance or SKI DOO/ATV trails read as mud bogs not rides. Enjoy your Xterras , one day I may be able to make the trip.

    Back to the OP, YES I have pulled off similar paces for combined efforts, but then no PRO and most AMs will face absolutely NO competition from my speeds. in either on road tris or AR's.

    My best suggestion to you is start doing BRICK training sessions. Do these once a week in all forms of training periods, AT THE APPROPRIATE PACE and really seek to mix up the terrain.

    Again, I am not saying to do GOAL RACE PACE while doing base phase training.
    However by starting to do back to back sessions in the Base phase your body will adapt and be ready for the 'shock', not the best word, of the switch in race modes. An easy shift in technique will buy you time over the masses who are unprepared.

    Like others my age I think technique(TM) wins out over Brute Force and Ignorance any day since no course cares how strong, or fast you are.

    Good Luck, let us know how it goes for you.

    Stosh,

    a firm believer that any Multi sport athlete is built by BRICKS
    If you happen to see my lungs back there, tell them I've gone on ahead.

  12. #12
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    http://xterracanada.ca/

    They've already announced XTERRA Alberta in Canmore and XTERRA Canada, which will be held in Whistler. I think they're planning on a few more for 2010.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by pernfilman


    This is an uphill climb at Xterra Camp Eagle in South Texas on the bike section
    According to the schedule that one is one week apart from XTERRA austin.. kind of lame if you ask me. I've got family in Austin so I will probably make the trip over there one of these years to tackle Emma Long city park. I rode the dirtbike trails there over Thanksgiving, and wow.. I know there is some overlap with the XTERRA bike course, but how much?




    Oh.. and thought I'd post this pic from the Richmond XTERRA course.. no running up this sucka
    Attached Images Attached Images    

  14. #14
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    All of the scary Emma Park stuff is in the course. Last year they had ramps for all the ledge drop offs. This year they removed them all. That made it a bit more challenging.

    This year they were a weekend apart I believe as well. Camp Eagle is a challenging course as well your teeth will rattle on the creek beds.

  15. #15
    BDT
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    flargle - Oak Mtn was also my first Xterra and I only ran the first 5K prior to the race. The last 2 miles were the most cramped/bonked/beat I've ever been in my life. I think I would have quit if I wasn't in the middle of the woods...but the bike leg at Oak Mtn is so much fun, singletrack - fire-road climb - killer DH - singletrack to finish.

    After training and doing a few more I agree w Stosh. Getting your legs ready for the bike -> run transition is key.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by System
    http://xterracanada.ca/

    They've already announced XTERRA Alberta in Canmore and XTERRA Canada, which will be held in Whistler. I think they're planning on a few more for 2010.
    Hey System:

    Thanks. This is news to me.

    We had one XTERRA race relatively local about 5 years ago, but I was nowhere near ready to finish something like this back then.

    Not that I need a reason to go back to either Canmore or Whistler, but those are some mighty beautiful places to save and train for. Having finally seen both recently, I cannot think of anywhere in Canada that I would rather cough up a lung or two from exertion in.

    Beautiful places, Some would call them "Gods Country".

    System, Thank you again for the info. I now have focus. "And a Christmas Wish List"
    If you happen to see my lungs back there, tell them I've gone on ahead.

  17. #17
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    Stosh,

    Be sure to check out the XTERRA wesbite for races in the US. There are quite a few planned for the Great Lakes Region and in the Northeast.

    http://xterraplanet.com/races/race_schedule.cfm

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by BDT
    flargle - Oak Mtn was also my first Xterra and I only ran the first 5K prior to the race. The last 2 miles were the most cramped/bonked/beat I've ever been in my life. I think I would have quit if I wasn't in the middle of the woods...but the bike leg at Oak Mtn is so much fun, singletrack - fire-road climb - killer DH - singletrack to finish.
    The red trail is one sweet loop. The South Central Cup still isn't on the 2010 Xterra schedule, I hope it happens this year.

  19. #19
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    The south central cup is showing up as it's in Waco TX. But some of the other regional cup qualifiers aren't showing up on the schedule.

  20. #20
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    West Cup is at Lake Las Vegas again on April 25.
    South Central Cup is in Waco, TX on May 23
    Atlantic Cup is in Richmond, VA on June 20
    Mountain Cup is in Beaver Creek, CO on July 17

    There will likely only be one more Cup race added, the Southeast Cup in Alabama. From what I've heard, the Northwest and Northeast Cups will not be held this year.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bioteknik
    The south central cup is showing up as it's in Waco TX. But some of the other regional cup qualifiers aren't showing up on the schedule.
    Oops I meant southeast.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by System
    There will likely only be one more Cup race added, the Southeast Cup in Alabama.
    I hope it takes place. Great course.

  23. #23
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    Correction to my above post:
    Northwest Cup Looks like it will be in Farragut, Idaho on June 5
    Southeast Cup is tentatively scheduled for Pelham, AL on June 13

    Northeast and Midwest Cups are unlikely to happen this year.

  24. #24
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    So what's everyone's schedule looking like for this year?

    I've signed up already for duathlon nationals (basically to ride the richmond course in race-conditions and gain some valuable race experience)

    Atlantic Cup Jun 20th
    EX2 Xterra Jul 11th
    and considering a third race on either Aug 1st (xterra appalachia) or Aug 23rd(xterra charlottesville).. Depends on whether or not my trip to Breckenridge gets rescheduled or not since a bike trip to Colorado beats out a race any day.

  25. #25
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    5/1/2010 XTERRA EPIC
    5/2/2010 XTERRA GATOR TERRA
    5/23/2010 XTERRA WACO
    8/8/2010 XTERRA IRON WILL
    8/15/2010 XTERRA CAMP EAGLE
    8/22/2010 XTERRA AUSTIN

    Will throw in a cup race in there some where to qualify, I did enjoy the Arkansas course last year, I hope they are just late to the starting line.

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